Research, Politics, and Bilingual Education

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Bilingual-education research has helped to inform and to shape federal policy and funding as articulated in the Bilingual Education Act, first passed in 1968 as Title VII of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. During the Act's most recent reauthorization, the U.S. Department of Education and others proposed changing the law to fund more all-English language programs. They argued that the federal government was mandating a single approach, that there was no research evidence to support such a mandate, and that schools should be granted flexibility in designing programs to meet local needs. In fashioning this argument, proponents of change carefully selected the research literature they alluded to. That research was judged against artificially high and overly narrow criteria. Finally, they overinterpreted the research to suit their agenda. Congress was under intense political pressure to fund more all-English programs, and it did so. But a panel of experts contradicted the argument that there was no research to support the use of the native language for instruction. In the end, Congress kept the bulk of the monies devoted to bilingual programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-106
Number of pages26
JournalThe ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)


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